Enormity excerpt #04: ‘Interviews’

hotelEnormity‘s protagonist, Jack, is interviewed by music journalists, which utilises my personal experiences. I don’t make any great comments about music journalists in the book (though there are some scathing remarks about those “hangers on” in the music industry – more on that later), other than one scene where we meet the planet’s most powerful and influential music journo – a young, nerdy kid. I think he’s me when I was 17.

I’ve completely lost track of how many personal experiences and anecdotes are in Enormity. They’re all woven together very tightly. Most names and titles in the book are references to artists and authors. There are obvious examples – Jack’s band mates are Dylan, Cohen and Emerson. Three references – Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen and Keith Emerson of Emerson, Lake and Palmer (one of the all-time greats of progressive rock keyboarding).

I’m slowly but surely finishing the draft of my five-page plot synopsis of Enormity. When it’s complete I will be approaching a publisher. Enormity will be released in 2013, no matter what. Hopefully it’s with the aid of a publisher, but I’m okay with doing it independently. I don’t think anything will stand in the book’s way.

This excerpt is the start of Chapter Four, which opens with a line of Jack’s dialogue:

“I just consider myself a songwriter. I’m not a ‘rock’ writer or a ‘punk’ writer or a ‘pop’ writer. A good song transcends genres. You should be able to convert it to any style and still have it retain its emotional impact.”

I’m generous with my time when it comes to the media. We share a relationship. I find that the more I give them, the less they want to make up or invent about me. It also takes the novelty away from unauthorised images of me going about my life. I have nothing to protect or to lose.

The interviewer, a young punk chick with a sleeve of tattoos on her right arm and black, thick-rimmed glasses smiles and glances down at the questions on her notepad. Our chat will be turned into a cover story for a national magazine called Distortion.

“Do you ever feel at odds with your fame?” she asks.

I pause, before finally answering, “Yes, I suppose. I sometimes wonder whether I deserve attention. Am I diverting coverage away from people that really matter? But then I remind myself that I love sharing my music. It’s like giving a mixtape to a new girlfriend. It’s a unifying experience.”

“What can you tell me about your next record?” she asks.

“It’s just another collection of songs,” I shrug. “There’s no over-arching aim beyond releasing another bunch of music. We’re really happy with it. It’s a diverse record, but it’s also consistent and cohesive. I think that’s been the key to our success. We’re able to try new things without alienating our fans.”

We’re in the Evelyn, a hotel only five blocks from my apartment. It sets a high benchmark for decadence. Endurance Records often books rooms here to conduct media days with its artists.

I’m feeling particularly lucid, which is unusual considering the pills I’ve dropped, so I take a long sip from my rum and cola. I feel a deep, comforting burn slide down my throat and into my stomach. The dash of cola I added was really only a token gesture.

“Will it be a happy album?” asks the girl.

“I think so,” I reply. “It won’t be an unhappy album. We’re very aware of our live shows and what feels good on stage, so I think we’ve focused on writing songs that really move an audience. Like, ‘Black Dog’ is a real party-starter. We’ve got another new song that’s coming together called ‘Seven Nation Army’. I’m looking forward to getting that one out there for people to hear.”

“Any slow songs?” she asks.

“Yeah, there’s a couple. There’s one called ‘Winter Coat’ which is this wistful tune about a guy who owns this old coat that one of his ex-girlfriends bought for him. They’re long broken up, but every time he wears it he remembers her,” I say.

“That’s sweet,” says my interviewer. “That’s why whenever I break up with someone I get rid of everything that reminds me of them and burn it. It’s easier that way.”

“I suppose everyone’s different,” I smile, and for a moment wish that I had something tangible from one of the people from my past life. Some token to remember them by.

The girl asks me a few more questions, one of which is about my love life. “Equal parts treacherous and depraved”, is my answer.

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